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Patterdale Terrier: Pictures, Temperament & Care

Written by: Kathryn Copeland

Last Updated on May 3, 2024 by Dogster Team

Patterdale Terrier dog breed.

Patterdale Terrier: Pictures, Temperament & Care

If you’re unfamiliar with the Patterdale Terrier, you’re not alone. The dog isn’t the most well-known, but we’re here to rectify that.

This breed has an amazing temperament for the right people, so if you’re looking for a bundle of energy in a compact body, the Patterdale might be perfect for you!

Breed Overview


12–15 inches


11–13 pounds


11–14 years


Black, red, brown, pied

Suitable for:

Active families and single people, house with a yard


Feisty, playful, outgoing, stubborn, curious, energetic, affectionate

Patterdale Terriers hail from the Lake District in Northern England and were used for what all terriers were bred for protecting the farm from predators like foxes and dispatching rats and raccoons.

Sometime in the 1920s to the 1930s, Border Terrier breeder and huntsman Joe Bowman crossed a black and tan Fell Terrier with a blue and black Border Terrier. This led to the Patterdale Terrier, named after the small village of Patterdale, where Bowman was originally from.

The compact, medium-sized dog can have three different coat types: smooth, rough, and broken (wirehaired). They can be black, brown, red, or pied (a coat pattern of unpigmented or white spots on pigmented hair).

Patterdale Terrier Characteristics

High-energy dogs will need a lot of mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy, while low-energy dogs require minimal physical activity. It’s important when choosing a dog to make sure their energy levels match your lifestyle or vice versa.
Easy-to-train dogs are more skilled at learning prompts and actions quickly with minimal training. Dogs that are harder to train will require a bit more patience and practice.
Some breeds, due to their size or their breeds potential genetic health issues, have shorter lifespans than others. Proper exercise, nutrition, and hygiene also play an important role in the lifespan of your pet.
Some dog breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, and some more than others. This doesn’t mean that every dog will have these issues, but they have an increased risk, so it’s important to understand and prepare for any additional needs they may require.
Some dog breeds are more social than others, both towards humans and other dogs. More social dogs have a tendency to run up to strangers for pets and scratches, while less social dogs shy away and are more cautious, even potentially aggressive. No matter the breed, it’s important to socialize your dog and expose them to lots of different situations.

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Patterdale Terrier Puppies

portrait of brown Patterdale Terrier dog
Image Credit: Radomir Rezny, Shutterstock

Patterdale Terriers are quite rare, particularly in other countries outside the U.K. You can check the Patterdale Terrier Club of America for breeders, but there are currently only about four in the U.S. If there isn’t a breeder in your area, you’ll have to fly a puppy to your location, which will only add to the amount that you’ll spend.

But before you pay for a puppy, be absolutely certain that you’re dealing with an ethical breeder, not a puppy mill or backyard breeder. This means asking plenty of questions!

We normally recommend adopting a dog, but the rarity of this breed makes it virtually impossible to find at a rescue organization or animal shelter.

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Temperament & Intelligence of the Patterdale Terrier 🧠

The Patterdale is an enthusiastic and super-active breed! They are outgoing and lively and essentially on the go for the better part of each day.

These dogs are highly intelligent and form strong bonds with their families. They are affectionate, funny, friendly, and devoted.

Are These Dogs Good for Families?👪

Patterdales can make excellent family dogs. However, they are best in a home with older children. This is due to their high energy, which might be overwhelming for younger children.

If you have children, ensure that they take part in the dog’s care. This will give them a sense of responsibility and a healthy respect for pets. Always supervise your children when they interact with the dog.

Patterdale Terrier by the lake
Image Credit: SteUK, Shutterstock

Does This Breed Get Along With Other Pets?🐶 😽

The Patterdale gets along well with other dogs, but they have a tremendously high prey drive. They might do better in homes without smaller pets like cats and pocket pets like hamsters.

If your dog is raised alongside your smaller pets and socialized well, there likely won’t be any problems. However, it’s not recommended if the dog is older when brought into the household with smaller pets.

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Things to Know When Owning a Patterdale Terrier

Food & Diet Requirements🦴

When feeding your Patterdale, the choice of food should be high-quality dog food for your pup’s current age and weight. How much you feed them and how often can be determined by your veterinarian and the feeding guidelines found on your dog’s food bag.

Try not to feed your dog any table scraps—not only because of weight gain concerns but also because some of what we eat can be toxic to dogs. Also, your dog should always have access to fresh and clean water.

Patterdale Terrier playing with a ball in meadow
Image Credit: Vanitytheone, Shutterstock


This is one of the most essential points of owning a Patterdale. This breed makes a better fit for an active owner or family who can commit to daily walks that add up to an hour a day, in addition to activities like playing fetch. Scent-based and tug-based games also work well with this breed.

They can make excellent running and hiking partners and are best suited for a home with a yard even though, size-wise, they might seem ideal for apartment living. However, apartments are not recommended because of their high energy levels and their propensity for barking. Like all terriers, Patterdales bark, though they aren’t known to be yappy. However, it might still put off neighbors in a condo setting.


Patterdales aren’t necessarily the best dogs for beginners. While they are highly intelligent and likely able to pick up training quickly, they have that famous terrier stubbornness. Due to their strong work drive and energy, they need a job to do, or they will become bored and eventually destructive.

Always use positive reinforcement with your Patterdale.


Patterdales have three different coat types: smooth, rough, and broken/wirehaired. The smooth coat is the easiest to care for, as it only needs brushing about once a week. However, rough or broken coats need more frequent brushing and trimming or hand stripping to keep them in good shape.

Patterdale Terriers only need a bath every 6 to 8 weeks or when necessary; be sure to use a good dog shampoo. You’ll also need to clean their ears about once a month, brush their teeth every day, and trim their nails about every 3 to 4 weeks.

Patterdale Terrier dog breed.
Image Credit: dageldog | iStock, Getty Images Plus.

Health and Conditions🏥

Patterdale Terriers are healthy dogs overall but are prone to a few health conditions, like every breed.

Minor Conditions
  • Obesity
  • Glaucoma
  • Lens luxation
  • Dry skin
Serious Conditions
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Intervertebral disc disease

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Male vs. Female

The male Patterdale Terrier is slightly bigger and heavier than the female. Beyond size, the only other notable difference between male and female Patterdales is when they need to be spayed or neutered. Neutering a male isn’t as invasive or as expensive as spaying a female, which is something to consider.

Regarding temperament, some people will tell you that females tend to be less affectionate and easier to train than males. However, each dog is unique, and what determines a dog’s personality are genetics and how they were raised and socialized.

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3 Little-Known Facts About the Patterdale Terrier

1. The Patterdale is not widely recognized as a breed.

This shouldn’t be too much of a surprise, given their rarity, particularly outside of the U.K., but the Patterdale Terrier is not formally recognized by the American Kennel Club. However, they are recognized by the Continental Kennel Club, the United Kennel Club, and the Rare Breed Association.

2. The Patterdale’s appearance varies.

These dogs were not bred with an emphasis on appearance. They were bred to be working animals, so their temperament, strength, and endurance took precedence over most other factors. This has caused Patterdale dogs to have fairly individual looks. They all have similar builds, but ones with broken or rough coats are more likely to have furnishings, such as eyebrows and beards. This, along with the different colors, can make them look like different breeds.

3. The Patterdale can fit in tight spaces.

Patterdale Terriers have firm yet flexible chests, which enable them to squeeze into narrow spaces. This is an essential element for terriers, as it allows them to “go to ground” or pursue prey in their burrows.

Patterdale Terrier lounging
Image Credit: JD, Shutterstock

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Final Thoughts

The Patterdale Terrier makes an excellent farm and hunting dog and a family companion. They aren’t that well-known, particularly in North America, but these terriers are just as amazing as the more well-known ones.

Don’t forget how critical it is to research any dog breed that you’re considering bringing into your family. A quiet and not particularly outdoorsy family would not want a Patterdale. But if you think you can keep up with this bundle of energy and are looking for an intelligent and loving dog, maybe the Patterdale Terrier will make you the perfect companion!

Featured Image Credit: Radomir Rezny, Shutterstock

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